Wadsworth student will soon hold Guinness World Record in origami

BY GRACE PANTALONE

Nick Shafer, a sophomore at Wadsworth High School, will soon hold the Guinness World Record for the largest display of origami doves.

The current record was set by JR Kyoto Isetan, a store in Japan, where employees and customers created and displayed 25,320 origami doves in September of 2017.

Shafer beat this record with 30,000 origami doves and he folded all of them by himself.

Origami is a Japanese art that consists of folding paper into shapes and figures. When Nick Shafer was looking for an origami record to break, he chose the dove for its simple design. He started folding on November 20, 2018, and then folded his last dove on March 30, 2020. 

Shafer has not officially broken the record yet because it requires a public display, which he hopes to do sometime in May. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, he has had to delay the reveal.

Nick Shafer beat his first world record with 30,000 origami doves. They are now stored in 17 different boxes with about 1,875 doves in each. Photo Courtesy of Nick Shafer

“Initially, it took me 20-30 seconds to make one. After folding 30,000 of them, I can fold one in less than 10 seconds,” explained Shafer.

He has folded a multitude of origami designs, for himself and for his friends. He has created animals and realistic designs. Shafer has folded vampire bats, phoenixes, and even a sousaphonist. However, the hardest design he has ever folded is the Origami Ancient Dragon designed by Satoshi Kamiya, which took around 16 hours of work. One of his most recent projects was an origami torso, designed by Horst Kiechle, which took about five months. On his YouTube channel, Shafer posted a video of the torso process.

Nick Shafer poses with the Ancient Dragon design at the 2018 Ohio Fine Arts Festival. He then went on to the Nationals in Texas. Photo Courtesy of Nick Shafer

Shafer started folding in fifth grade but really got into it in seventh grade. He is self-taught and started by watching videos online but now prefers to find diagrams of models. He plans on starting a YouTube channel dedicated to helping other people learn at their own pace. 

While social distancing Shafer has had time to make his own origami paper and spend time folding. Currently, he is going for his second world record, for the largest display of origami maple leaves. The current record holders are, Anil Srivastava, Shvali Srivastava, and Kavita Johri Srivastava, created 1,451 maple leaves. Nick is hoping to create a display that has 1,750 maple leaves. 

Shafer is interested in origami because he thinks that it is interesting how artwork can be made out of a piece of paper. His recent goal, besides the second world record, is to create complicated pieces out of regular printer paper. 

“Like with almost anything else, do not compare yourself to others. It takes time to learn how to fold well, and there is always going to be someone that is better at folding than you,” Shafer said. “Also, be patient. So many of my works do not turn out as good as I would like them and most models take a while to fold. If you don’t enjoy it and just want the final product, do not do it.” 

Shafer is looking forward to continuing folding his magnificent designs and breaking World records, such as the largest display of origami maple leaves. In his journey, Shafer hopes to influence others and guide them on a path to love and enjoy origami as much as he does.

Nick Shafer created an origami model of a human torso. It took him approximately five months. Photo Courtesy of Nick Shafer

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